Video shows Kelly made inaccurate claims about lawmaker in feud over Trump’s condolence call

Trump lashed out on Twitter the next morning, calling Wilson’s account “totally fabricated” and stating that he had “proof.” Trump’s subsequent revelation that Obama had not called Kelly after his son’s death led to Kelly’s appearance in the briefing room Thursday.

.. In the Fox interview, Trump insisted that he did speak La David Johnson’s name in his conversation with his widow.

At the White House, Sanders accused reporters of fanning the flames of a sensational story. “It should have ended yesterday after General Kelly’s comments,” she said. “But it didn’t. . . . It’s still the bulk of the coverage on most every TV you turn on and most every newspaper that you open up today.”

She did not mention that Trump had tweeted again about the issue late Thursday, nearly eight hours after Kelly’s briefing room appearance.

“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson (D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!” Trump wrote.

 .. In his defense of Trump on Thursday, Kelly accused Wilson of “selfish behavior.” And he asserted that Wilson, at the 2015 FBI building dedication in Miami, had “talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money, the $20 million.”Wilson denied making such remarks. The Sun-Sentinel video shows that she recounted how she went into “attack mode” to ensure that Congress and Obama expedited a bill to name the building after the two fallen FBI agents in about four weeks.

When initially told that such legislation could take as long as a year, Wilson recalled, “I said — I’m a school principal — and I said, excuse my French, ‘Aw, hell no, we’re going to get this done.’ ” She spread credit, offering praise for then-House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). She also praised the two agents, Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, who were killed in a shootout with bank robbers in 1986 in Miami.

Peter Feaver, a Duke University political science professor who served as a special adviser at the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, said Trump had erred by engaging in the political fight in the first place.

“Every politically savvy person would have said, ‘You can’t criticize Gold Star families and have anything good come out — so just don’t bother,’ ” Feaver said. “If they criticize you, just take it.”

John Kelly’s defense of Trump was absurd. And he surely knows it.

But Kelly did not even deny Wilson’s basic claim, i.e., that Trump said some variation of “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”
.. But it’s not clear why Kelly had to go out of his way to suggest that the congresswoman was exploiting Johnson’s death, suggesting for good measure that he was so angry that he walked among the graves of fallen soldiers to cool down, and then launching into a sermon about how basic decency and traditional values are dead. “When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country,” Kelly said, adding that “women were sacred.”
It’s odd to invoke the “sacredness” of women while defending Trump, whom multiple women have accused of sexual assault and who has repeatedly and very publicly denigrated women in horrifying ways, but Kelly is of course not responsible for Trump’s actions. What is worse is the sleight of hand Kelly used to align Trump culturally and morally with the military and the families of the fallen while casting the congresswoman as belonging to a kind of cultural category that, in the minds of people of Kelly’s generation,
.. which came of age during the country’s searing divisions over Vietnam, is characterized by empty, valueless showboating and doesn’t have sufficient respect for the military and the ultimate sacrifice made by fallen soldiers and their loved ones.
.. Whatever the truth about Wilson’s motives, the decision as to who listened in on the call was a personal one made by the next of kin. And Kelly should respect that. Instead, he helped Trump play the aggrieved party. But in this case, Trump apparently botched the call to a family. He should have known that he might be placed on speakerphone. (When you were a “kid growing up,” surely men took responsibility for their actions, right, John?)

Investor Behind Weinstein Studio Bid, Is a Friend to Many in Hollywood

Thomas J. Barrack Jr. , the wealthy private-equity investor who is in negotiations to buy the Weinstein Co., has spent most of his career trading real estate. But bailing out troubled celebrities has long been a favorite hobby.

.. took control of Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch in 2008.

.. Mr. Barrack helped out Annie Leibovitz, a photographer famous for her work with musicians and movie stars, a few years ago by buying out her millions of dollars of debt. He then helped her raise the money back by promoting exhibits of her work and sales of limited-edition prints.

.. The Weinstein Co. deal appears to be a variant of the Barrack playbook of providing much-needed capital to companies or people in exchange for greater control over their holdings.

.. Financier Steven Mnuchin, now the Treasury secretary, was a Hollywood player who co-financed movies through his RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC venture.

.. Mr. Mnuchin’s executive-producer credit has appeared on recent movies like “The Accountant” and “Wonder Woman.”

.. President Donald Trump.

The real-estate investors got to know each other when Mr. Barrack was working for Texas billionaire investor Robert Bass and helped his boss sell the iconic Plaza Hotel to Mr. Trump for around $400 million in 1988.

 .. Mr. Barrack was a major fundraiser for Mr. Trump and served as chairman of the president’s inauguration committee.
.. Mr. Barrack founded Colony Capital in 1991 to buy defaulted real-estate loans during the savings-and-loan crisis. He built his fortune over the years by acquiring property in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

George Soros Transfers $18 Billion to His Foundation, Creating an Instant Giant

The pioneer of hedge-fund investing has transferred the bulk of his wealth to Open Society Foundations

Open Society’s activism has sometimes angered nationalist governments, such as the current one in Hungary, which targeted a university Mr. Soros founded and which has run poster campaigns singling him out for his support of refugees. Mr. Soros has urged developed countries in Europe and elsewhere to share the burden of increased migration from conflict-ridden countries. Anti-Soros politicians in Macedonia, Poland and some other European countries have attacked foreign-funded groups, including Open Society, for what they see as outside interference in their affairs.

In the U.S., where Mr. Soros is a major contributor to liberal and Democratic causes, he is a lightning rod for conservatives. Open Society has supported efforts to overhaul immigration policies and the criminal-justice system, including prisons, and funded mentoring programs for black and Latino young men. It has supported activists working on issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.

.. Mr. Trump, whose campaign cited Mr. Soros in a closing ad as part of a “global power structure” the ad said disadvantaged the working class.

.. Despite regularly telling others he was retired, Mr. Soros occasionally stepped back into active trading, such as during the financial crisis, when he helped guide his firm to big gains. Former employees say some past investment chiefs bristled at how Mr. Soros inserted himself in operations, judging them critically on what they felt was short-term performance.

.. Soros Fund Management’s annual returns have averaged around 11% in the past 10 years, according to a person familiar with the figures, well below the 30% of its early decades.